|Ring-Tail lemur plus baby, Bristol Zoo 2009|
|Tamarind tree and fruit|
|Wild Ring-Tailed Lemurs, Madagascar|
Lemurs rely much more on olfactory communication than monkeys and apes do, and they are plentifully supplied with scent glands. Males have special spurs on their forearm (antebrachial) scent glands which they use to score grooves in bark and rub their scent in to mark territory. Males also engage in special olfactory combats called stink fights, where they anoint their tails with their scent and then wave them in a rivals direction to waft the scent at their opponent. Similar behaviour is also used in courtship displays during the breeding season.
The distinctive tail of the Ring-Tailed lemur is also of course a signal. It is especially useful when the group is travelling on the ground through grass and bushes – they walk with their tails held high so other group members can see their location over the surrounding grass.
|Range of Ring-Tailed lemur|
|Ring-Tailed Lemurs sunbathing|
Here at the zoo, Ring-Tailed Lemurs can be seen in the Lemur Walkthrough. This is closed for the winter, but their inside quarters (where they spend most of their time in the British winter) are on view to the public. They tend to sit up high, especially on top of the lights. Last year we had our first baby for many years, as our senior female is well into her twenties. We got a new male in, and expect the younger females in our group to breed in the coming year as well. The Lemur Walkthrough also houses two other lemur species, Mongoose Lemur and Red-Bellied Lemur, which will be posted about in the coming weeks.
(Images from wikipedia, Bristol Zoo website)